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A screenshot from the new video to promote the agreement between Pacte d’amitié municipalities and Ottawa Riverkeeper.

Video introduces partnership between Pacte d’amitié municipalities and Ottawa Riverkeeper

The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR), the MRC d’Argenteuil, and the MRC de Papineau have launched a video to introduce their partnership with Ottawa Riverkeeper – a three-year commitment to shoreline cleanups along the Ottawa River.

Although their work was delayed by more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new video shows the importance of joint efforts and concern for environmental health which helped inspire the three communities to work together. The video can be viewed on YouTube here.
The Pacte d’amitié was formed to unite the UCPR, Argenteuil and Papineau municipalities in order to address mutual objectives. The group’s agreement with Ottawa Riverkeeper, signed in 2019, takes a broad scale and cooperative view of water stewardship advocated by the environmental group.

“Twenty towns in Prescott and Russell source their drinking water from the Ottawa River, so it’s very important to us to be able to collaborate with organizations wanting to protect and preserve our water quality,” said Stéphane Sarrazin, Warden of the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.

Sarrazin explained that protecting the Ottawa River is an important objective of the three municipalities united through the Pacte d’amitié.

“Not only is it a tourism resource, but it is also what provides water to (UCPR municipalities),” Sarrazin noted. “I think (protecting the Ottawa River) is very important.”

Although in-person events have been limited or even forbidden due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pacte d’amitié and Ottawa Riverkeeper have been hard at work trying to make environmental protection more accessible to all – especially online. The collaboration recently launched a brand new all-in-one digital shoreline cleanup platform, iCleanup, which will serve as a tool for the communities of the UCPR, MRC d’Argenteuil, and the MRC de Papineau, as well as for the rest of the Ottawa River watershed now and into the future.

Through iCleanup, individuals can track their own cleanups to see how much waste they and the watershed community have kept out of local waterways. Participants are reminded to follow COVID-19 public health guidelines.

Ottawa Riverkeeper has also published a Guide to Solo Shoreline Cleanups and created the Shoreline Cleanup Community – a safe space for people to engage with others, ask questions, get informed, and most of all, build a community dedicated to protecting the waterways of the Ottawa River watershed.

“We think it’s a great idea and gives people the opportunity to do their share and do it on a personal basis – it’s certainly a way to proceed during the pandemic,” the Warden of the UCPR said, adding he hopes events to help unite the three communities in the Pacte d’amitié can be held once the pandemic is over.

Alejandro Prescott-Cornejo, Community Outreach Coordinator for Ottawa Riverkeeper, said the agreement between the organization and the three communities in the Pacte d’amitié will help make a difference to a waterway extremely important to the municipalities aligned through the Pacte d’amitié.

“It’s a river that connects the three of them (and) does not have political boundaries, so it’s something that everyone has a stake in,” Alejandro said. “We feel very lucky to work with the MRC d’Argenteuil, MRC de Papineau and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell, because we feel it can make an enormous difference for the Ottawa River in cleaning and keeping different types of pollution, be it plastic or otherwise, out of the river.”

“What’s important to these communities is the health of the Ottawa River and we’re happy to support them in that mission.”

Anyone wishing more information on projects underway through Ottawa Riverkeeper can visit the following links:

– iCleanup : icleanup.ca
– Shoreline Cleanup Community : https://www.facebook.com/groups/1357835597921976

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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